Raising Young Children in an Alaskan Inupiaq Village
The Family, Cultural, and Village Environment of Rearing
AUTHOR: Julie E. Sprott
PUBLISHER: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
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A comprehensive, case study portrait of the childrearing context of a predominantly Eskimo village in the remote Northwest Arctic, designed to look for evidence of reinvention, transformation, or conscious choice as process features of change in the mix of traditional childrearing beliefs and practices with infusions from the dominant culture.
The rearing environment and child well-being were studied during 18 months of anthropological fieldwork in an Alaskan Inupiaq village in the Northwest Arctic. Volunteers for the sample consisted of 44 adults from 16 extended families who were raising a child between the ages of three and six years. Results from guided interviews, card sorts, standardized family and home assessments, and review of the children's medical records revealed a complex portrait of culture continuity and change and included the following trends:
many traditions had been retained, even though villagers perceived few differences in their rearing style compared to that of mainstream culture
despite the presence of other households with extended family members in the village and touting of the value of kinship, 25% of core families reared their children in relative isolation
growth measurements, immunization status, and general health of the children were good, but children evidenced diets high in sugar and many suffered severe dental problems
present-day caregivers were engaged in dialogue about problem parenting behaviors that had developed a generation earlier during a time of massive acculturation stress and population growth--namely, the overuse of scolding of children without attached explanations and overt favoring of specific children over others in the family.
The study presents present-day rearing strategies and ideas as summarized from interviews and data from more formal instruments, and frames changes in the system within the broader historical/social context."
PUBLICATION DATE: 12/30/2002
CATEGORY: Family & Relationships, Social Science